In the womb, Meagan Seals was the baby no doctor believed could or should be born.
On Friday, the 2-year-old became got a dose of some Elburn-area Christmas cheer that might help her keep beating the odds. About 60 members of the Lord of Life Lutheran Church teamed up with Lutheran Church Charities to bring gifts -- right to their door -- that will help Meagan and her family work with the girl's disabilities.
"This is so wonderful," mother Luellen Seals told the crowd. "I don't know how you guys did it."
Luellen and Scott Seals learned just 14 weeks after conceiving Meagan that the odds were against her. Tests revealed Meagan's skull was not fully forming. Eventually, a clementine-sized portion of her brain would develop outside the back of her head.
"We were asked to terminate our pregnancy quite a few times," Luellen said. "Doctors just kept telling us she would have zero quality of life, and if she'd even be born breathing it would be a miracle. We kind of decided just to take our chances."
The gamble paid off. Meagan was indeed born alive. But the news didn't get any better. She needed help breathing and wasn't expected to live more than two weeks.
The couple called in the Rev. Phil Ressler at the Lord of Life Lutheran Church in La Fox to baptize her before she was removed from all the medical equipment she was on. But when all the plugs were pulled, Meagan continued to live.
"I've had a doctor tell me she's got two years to live," Luellen said. "Now it's past two years. I've had another doctor tell me five years, and another said 10 years."
Besides the odds and gloom and doom from the doctors, Meagan has ongoing challenges. Her head is smaller than normal because her brain didn't grow to full size. What brain she does have is totally smooth, indicating it will never develop. But that's where Meagan defies the standard diagnosis yet again.
"We were told she'd be a vegetable and wouldn't know anything," Luellen said. "But she does know. She recognizes when someone says her name. She responds to music. Yes, she is very mentally handicapped, but she does know a lot."
Unexpected gifts delivered to their door on Friday now have Meagan's parents hoping she'll soon know a lot more. The Lord of Life Lutheran Church members delivered a special chair to assist with Meagan's feedings, a second wheelchair that will allow her to sit up and see her surroundings when traveling with her family, and an iPad with special software designed to stimulate Meagan's brain through visuals.
The couple also received a check for more than $9,000 to help with their $800-a-month in out-of-pocket medical bills for Meagan.
About 60 members of the church family lined up outside the Seals' home to sing Christmas carols while delivering the gifts Friday afternoon. As the chairs appeared, so did tears in Luellen's eyes.
The Rev. Ressler said church members wanted to help the family, especially during Christmas, because Meagan is a symbol to them about what the holiday really signifies.
"Jesus brings hope and light into this world," Ressler said. "Meagan is our little miracle. She reminds us that no matter how dark it might seem, there is that hope that Jesus gives us."
To learn more about Meagan and track her progress, visit her Facebook page by searching Meagan Seals Miracle Baby. People interested in helping Meagan can send donations to Lutheran Church Charities at 333 W. Lake St., Addison, IL. 60101, attention: Meagan Seals Fund.